“The Gospel, proclaimed and believed, urges us to wash the feet and the wounds of the suffering and to prepare the table for them.”
These were the words said by Pope Francis during the Opening Mass of Caritas Internationalis’ 20th General Assembly at St. Peter’s Basilica.
The meeting, entitled “One Human Family, Caring for Creation”, is convened every four years. Earlier today the organization’s outgoing head, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, said that the assembly will “make plans for the future and strengthen relations in this federation of 162 national Caritas.“
In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles in which Paul and Silas were imprisoned and the conversion of their jailer.
“The story tells us that the man immediately took the necessary steps on the path towards faith and salvation: together with his household, he listened to the Word of the Lord; washed the wounds of Paul and Silas; received Baptism with his entire family; and finally, full of joy, he welcomed Paul and Silas into his home, setting the table and offering them something to eat,” the Pope explained.
The proclamation of the Gospel, he continued, “urges us to wash the feet and the wounds of the suffering and to prepare the table for them.”
Speaking on Caritas’ upcoming General Assembly, the 78 year old Pontiff said that very gesture embodies their mission. “The source of all your service lies in the simple and docile welcome of God and neighbor,” he said.
“Whoever lives the mission of Caritas is not simple charitable worker, but is a true witness of Christ. He is a person who seeks Christ and allows Christ to seek him; people who love with the spirit of Christ, a spirit of gratuitousness and gift. All of our strategies and plans remain empty unless we carry this love in us. Not our love, but His.”
Recalling the organization’s campaign, “One human family, food for all”, the Pope stressed that while much has been done, there are still many left hungry in this world.
“The planet has enough food for all, but it seems that there is a lack of willingness to share it with everyone,” he said. “We ought to set the table for all, and ask that there be a table for all.
“We must do what we can so that everyone has something to eat, but we must also remind the powerful of the Earth that God will call them to judgement one day and there it will be revealed if they really tried to provide food for Him in every and if they did what they could to preserve the environment so that it could produce this food.”
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On ZENIT’s website:
For the full text of Pope Francis’ homily, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-homily-at-opening-mass-of-caritas-internationalis-general-assembly
Reminding them of their mission, the Holy Father said that Caritas is called to reveal the power of Christian love and the desire to reach Christ through those most vulnerable.
Concluding his address, Pope Francis recalled tomorrow’s feast of Our Lady of Fatima who, he said, announced “victory over evil.”
“With such a great support, we are not afraid to continue our mission,” he concluded.